Dear Dr. N.:
On the off chance that you're curious why neither I nor my children are any longer frequenting your office, I've decided to share my reasons with you.
As you know, I've been a patient of yours for twelve years, since I first moved to Ottawa. I have never had the slightest issue with your friendliness or professionalism. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your front counter staff, particularly the one older woman (I'm sure you know who I mean). I'm not sure why I put up with the customer service I've received here for as long as I have - I suspect it's a combination of laziness and the fact that I only come here two or three times a year.
I've worked retail myself, and I do realize that it's a bit much to expect staff to invariably act like 'the customer is always right'. However, it is a somewhat baffling customer service model I've experienced here, one which seems to dictate that 'the customer is a blithering idiot and not deserving of the slightest courtesy or respect'.
This individual has made several mistakes such as calling my house to confirm an appointment for my mother (same last name, different address and phone number), obviously having confused two patients. However, it's more the fact that she acts like I am an intrusion and an annoyance every time I call to make an appointment that I find more vexing, as well as curious; did she not know when she took the job that patients would have to call to make appointments to see their eye doctors?
I would probably still be subjecting myself to this sort of treatment, if not for the incident which occurred in July of this year. I started bringing my children to your office when they were old enough to require eye exams, even though the office is twenty minutes away from where I live, because I have been satisfied with your services as an optometrist and I believe in customer loyalty (I know - how charmingly misguided). A few weeks ago I booked eye exams for my children and wrote the appointments down on the calendar for Wednesday July 6 at 1:00. However, when I received my confirmation call, the individual in question clearly stated that she was calling to confirm appointments for Thursday, July 7 at 1:00. I was a bit confused, and I considered calling to clarify, but then I thought that presumably she had the appointment calendar in front of her while she was calling, and that perhaps I had thought our calendar week started on Saturday instead of Sunday and wrote it down wrong.
At any rate, I showed up in the office on the Thursday. When I gave her my children's names, she couldn't find them. I said that I hoped she hadn't made a mistake when she called, since the appointment I had originally written down was on the Wednesday. She checked, said "yes, it was yesterday. And I don't have anything for today," very brusquely, then looked down dismissively and moved her chair over. I said rather tartly that it would be nice if she would be a little bit more careful about her reminder calls, and asked to make another appointment (because why wouldn't I want to keep coming back for this kind of treatment?). She made it, with fairly bad grace - when I asked if I could look at a calendar she simply said 'no'. When it was done, before leaving, I said it would be nice if she would make some sort of expression of regret for a mistake that had caused me to drag my kids out of the sandbox on a summer afternoon, dress them up and drive them half an hour for an appointment that now had to be rescheduled. She remarked somewhat incomprehensibly that "we always call and say the date and the time", whereupon I said "that's what I'm telling you -- you said the WRONG ONE". She retorted "well I didn't do it", which is really not the point (although it was, in fact, her - she has a very distinctive voice). Totally bemused, I asked her if she WAS at all sorry that we drove out here for nothing because of a mistake on her end, and naturally she said "I don't know that we made a mistake." Really? Really? All she had to say was "if a mistake was made, I'm sorry." That's in the COMPLETE IDIOTS guide to customer service. She was so clearly more concerned with being right than being polite or the least bit professional, I would have been amused if I wasn't livid. I had the impression that she knew she had made a mistake and just wanted to get rid of me as soon as possible. She turned what should have been a minor inconvenience into a deeply unpleasant experience for both me and my children.
I believe that by leaving this individual on the front line of your business, you are doing it a disservice; however, after delivering this letter I don't intend to commit any further headspace to the matter. On the drive back to Barrhaven I came to the obvious yet incredibly liberating conclusion that I don't actually have to drive twenty minutes out of my way and pay good money to put up with -- and be treated like -- total garbage.